The Savior

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I have been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Jackson, Mississippi

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Different Path

When all young women first get their mission call, it states that the time of their service will be 18 months. That’s what they all count on – 18 months and nothing less. They painstakingly pack their bags, trying vainly to fit a year and a half’s worth of clothing in along with everything else that’s crucial to survival to a girl. Then… they set off. To all the corners of the world to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the wonderful news of the true Church’s restoration. It’s a true act of pure faith.

I, like every other sister missionary, fully expected to serve those 18 months. When I set out, I was determined to make it to the end. See, I had the mind set that a full mission was 18 months – nothing less. To me, if you didn’t serve that exact time, it wasn’t a complete mission.

Heavenly Father had a different plan for me.

About half way through, I had to go home for medical problems (problems that still persist to this day, even after trying to fix them). I was devastated. I am STILL devastated.  There isn’t a single day that I think about my time serving the Lord. Not a moment passes by where I’m not reminded of the hard work I did. Often times, it hurts and I can feel the bitterness creeping up.

I’ve often asked myself, “Why did I feel so prompted to serve the Lord on a mission, only to come home early, hurt? Only to have these problems persist? Only to feel cheated?” These questions of why haunt me into the early morning and keep me awake at night. Sometimes, it even hurts to pray to my Lord because I feel so bitter at times.

As time has gone on, I begin to realize more and more how narrow my vision is. I thought that 18 months was a full time mission. It is to most, but not to all. Heavenly Father didn’t need me to serve for that long – He only needed me for about half of that. For me, half of those 18 months was MY full time mission. It wasn’t cut short. It wasn’t truncated. There was no cheating, no unfairness, no abandonment. For some reason, my full time mission was just a little shorter than everyone else’s.

I was meant to serve just those few months. From the beginning. I take great comfort in that and, even though I often have to remind myself that I served MY full time mission, I know it all turned out that way Heavenly Father intended it to. There's a reason it was shorter than most - and I am quite determined to learn why. The answer won't come tomorrow and it probably won't come the next day. But I'm confident that someday, the Lord will make it all clear to me.

2 Nephi 2:24 states, “All things have been done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things.” Through this journey, I’ve come to treasure these few words deeply. Heavenly Father knows all and He knows what the future holds for us. A concept that continues to enthrall me to this day - one that I cannot seem to fully grasp. He knows all. He sees the outcome of each path we take and does His best to put us onto the best path. For me, the best path was one with rotated bones, twisted muscles, awful pain, and a shorter mission than most. I suppose the path were I served an 18 month mission didn't turn out as well as this path will.

The full time mission I served changed me. The pains of it not being as long as I expected it to be strengthened me. The future that is before me will shape me.

To all those who also have had to come home early for unforeseen circumstances, take heart. You served all that you were meant to serve. Heavenly Father accepts your service and He is so very proud of you. You served your full time mission. Don’t let anyone ever tell you any different.